SPOTLIGHT - my desert song
about the spotlight writer
Hi hello! My name is Kat Miller. I am currently a senior at Baylor University studying social work and Spanish. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, so basically midwest is best. Most of the time, you can find me either leading worship, sitting at a coffee shop, playing with my kitten, or hanging out with my friends. I seek to love God and love people above everything else in my life.
Enneagram 7 || ENFP || input, achiever, learner, futuristic, woo || quality time & words of affirmation || sanguine
Recently, I got the opportunity to take a trip with ten of my favorite humans and head to the deserts of Moab, Utah. I’ll tell y’all what, if you get the chance, you need to go there. The scenery is incredible. As someone who spent the majority of their childhood in the Midwest, to see mountain ranges, huge canyons, raging rivers and desert lands was nothing short of mind blowing. Dang God’s creation is good. While I was there, however, God began to really work on my heart. Can I tell you about it?
First, let me set the scene: We got a late start to the day, so the ten-mile hike began at about noon (not the best idea, by the way), but it is mid-afternoon by now. Think sweltering heat. I’m pretty sure it was about two hundred degrees outside. Really, really hot. Really, really dry. Did I mention hot? Anyway, today, we were hiking through The Needles at Canyonlands National Park. For the first few miles, we headed down into a valley through a relatively forested area. There wasn’t much to see. Then…it happened. We cleared the tree line and suddenly our view opened up. Enormous cliffs, beautiful rock formations, and desert plants dotting the landscape. The view was truly breathtaking. One of my friends began to sing, and slowly the others joined…
The One who was
And is to come
God of every moment
You alone are holy
Glory and praise
Power and strength
Worthy is the Lamb of God
It all revolves
Around Your throne
Who can know Your glory?
So high above
Yet slain for us
You alone are worthy
And the praise is Yours
And the praise is Yours
You're the One we bow before
Reigning over us
As we lift You up
You will reign forevermore
As we stood amongst creation and the majesty of it all, we had no choice but to worship. There was no alternative for that moment besides to praise. Then, it dawned on me. We were standing in the desert when we were all moved to song. We were standing in a desolate, barren, unforgiving land. And yet. And yet, we sensed God’s presence. And yet, we worshipped.
Have you ever been in a space like that? Your life like a desert – barren…unforgiving…desolate? I have. And I don’t think I am alone in this. During 2016 and 2017, my life was a hot mess. I was struggling with significant grief after multiple unsuspected losses of close friends. I was dealing with the complex sorrow that comes from suicides of loved ones. My anxiety was out of control. Panic attacks and depression created a filter on my life that felt inescapable. I tried just about every coping mechanism you can think of, both healthy and unhealthy. If you’d like to talk more about any of those things, please shoot me a text, email, smoke signal, whatever. I’d love to meet and talk more about things I learned through this season of my life.
Looking back, though, there is one thing that is clear above it all – God was right there with me. He was closer than my next breath. You see, the pain and difficulty of that season only created a clearer backdrop for God’s love to shine through. This doesn’t change the fact that it was hard. I had some low, low moments where all I could do was cry out to God asking, “Why?”. I’ll be honest with you all. I didn’t always get clear answers to those questions either. Sometimes, I had to surrender to the fact that I might not get answers to every question on this side of eternity. Nevertheless, God continued to woo me. He continued to ask, “Will you trust me? Will you follow me?”. And he never failed to gently remind me, “I am faithful. I love you. You are not alone in this. I am with you. I have redeemed you. I am enough for you.”
Isaiah 35:1-4 in the Voice translation says, “Imagine the wilderness whooping for joy, the desert’s unbridled happiness with its spring flowers. It will happen! The deserts will come alive with new growth budding and blooming, singing and celebrating with sheer delight. The glory of Lebanon’s cedars and the majesty of Carmel and Sharon will spill over to the deserts. The glory of the Eternal One will be on full display there, and they will revel in the majestic splendor of our God. So, with confidence and hope in this message, strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary. Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, ‘Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here—your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.’” It then finishes, “But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
My Bible titles this passage, “The Joy of the Redeemed”, and frankly, I could not think of a more fitting passage to describe my life. You see, despite being in the desert, despite being in the lowest of the low, I still can have joy. I still have hope. Why? Because the deserts display God’s glory. Because, though it may be dry and barren, God can still redeem. Though I have messed up more times than I’d care to admit. Though I am a broken, screwed up human, God still calls me redeemed. So, I will enter Zion with singing. I will enter with a joy that cannot be taken away. I will enter with a hope that cannot be shaken. My God is worthy to be praised. To Him be the glory.
To listen to the song that I mentioned earlier, click this link: https://youtu.be/cVcrFriWQq0
To watch a highlight reel of my trip to Utah, click this link: https://youtu.be/8DwzuXAdpfc